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Victoria Bridge, Bath

Victoria Bridge
Crosses River Avon
Locale Bath, England
Owner Bath and North East Somerset Council
Architect James Dredge, Sr.
Engineering design Motley and Dredge
Design cable-stayed double cantilever
Material Bath stone and iron
Total length 45.7 m (150 ft)
Width 5.8 m (19 ft)
Number of spans 1
Construction begin August 1836 (1836-August)
Construction end December 1836 (1836-December)
Preceded by Midland Bridge
Followed by Destructer Bridge
Heritage status Grade II* listed building
Victoria Bridge is located in Somerset
Victoria Bridge
Victoria Bridge

Victoria Bridge in Bath, England, was built in 1836 across the River Avon. The bridge has been recognised as a Grade II* listed building.[1]

The bridge is an important example of a suspension bridge which initially carried horses and carts but later carried cyclists and pedestrians until its closure on safety grounds in 2011.


The cable-stayed double cantilever bridge, built by Motley and Dredge, has a span of 45.7 metres (150 ft) with the cables slung from Bath stone towers. The road deck is joined to the cables by iron rods, which, unusually, are not vertical.[1] James Dredge who was a brewer in Bath designed the bridge to carry beer from his brewery across the river without using a ferry or having to detour through the city centre.[2] Construction cost £1,760.[3] He patented the 'Taper principle' based on using chains rather than cables, as is more common in suspension bridges.[2] Dredge's bridge design was considered "a very significant yet relatively short-lived phase in suspension bridge development".[4]

The main span chains have 155 links each of which is 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) long and supports two wrought iron hangers. The deck is made of wooden planks.[3]

Initially the bridge was used for horse-drawn carts but later only carried bicycles and pedestrians.


The bridge in 2008

In October 2010 the bridge was closed to users,[5] because of concerns about the safety of the beams and cables.[6] This caused criticism from cycling groups in the city.[7] It was reopened later in October 2010,[8] but then closed again.[7]

Further inspections were carried out by a structural engineer in September 2011.[9]

In November 2011 the tow-path was closed and then the navigation itself was closed to all boats.[6]

Restoration costs have been estimated at £3 million.[10] Emergency work to prop up either side of the bridge and apply temporary strapping took place in November 2011.[11] Further work is planned to create a temporary truss to support the bridge. Details of the full restoration work have not yet been published but it is planned to be completed by the winter of 2013.[12] Work on restoring the bridge started in 2014, and an internal structure has been fitted to it to render both the bridge and the canal usable during restorations. A notice has been posted on the bridge by Bath City Council, detailing the intended progress of the works. The bridge will be taken apart and then rebuilt with additional steel reinforcing. It will then be painted dark green. The work is projected to be completed by the end of 2014.[13]

The bridge is listed on the Heritage at Risk register.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Victoria Bridge".  
  2. ^ a b "James Dredges Suspension Bridges". SABRE. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Griffiths, R. A. (April 2009), "Analysis of James Dredge's Victoria Bridge, Bath", Proceedings of Bridge Engineering 2 Conference 2009 (University of Bath), retrieved 23 November 2012 
  4. ^ McQuillan, D. (February 1994). "From brewer to bridge builder: reflections on the life and work of James Dredge". Proc. Instn Civ, Engers 102: 34–42. 
  5. ^ "Victoria Bridge, Bath (Temporary prohibition of use by pedestrians and cyclists) Order 2010". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Update: New row over Victoria Bridge as part of river closed to boats". This is Bath. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Cyclists fume over Bath footbridge closure saga". This is Bath. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Victoria Bridge reopens after safety probe". This is Bath. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Unsafe Victoria Bridge in Bath reassessed". BBC. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bath's Victoria Bridge restoration estimated to cost £3m". BBC. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Victoria Bridge in Bath to be strapped up for safety". BBC. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Victoria Bridge — update statement". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Start made on Victoria Bridge refurbishment". Bath and North East Somerset. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Victoria Bridge, Victoria Bridge Road, Bath - Bath and North East Somerset (UA)". Heritage at Risk Register. English Heritage. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
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